Resilience endures amid continued loss in Ukraine

Wednesday, February 21, 2024


In Donetsk, Olya*, 10, and Andriy*, 9, faced heartbreak twice; first, with their mother’s passing in 2017, and then again in October 2022, when a shell took their father’s life.  


“Dad was almost inside when it hit,” Andriy painfully recalls. For days, amid relentless shelling, they huddled near their father’s remains. Volunteers and police later evacuated them to their elder sister’s place, but the trauma lingered. SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine stepped up to provide mental health support for the children, including a therapy camp to help them overcome their trauma and loss. 


Challenges arose when it became evident that their sister’s home was not a permanent solution. With collective support from the Ministry of Social Policy, the Service for Children and SOS Children’s Villages 

Ukraine, the siblings found a haven with a new foster family. Now, they attend school online and thrive in their new home. Despite having to grow up too quickly, Olya enjoys feeling like a child again. 


SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine regularly checks in and provides Olya and Andriy psychosocial support. 

Rising from the rubble


In the Kharkiv region, 15-year-old Daniela’s* life unexpectedly changed when a full-scale invasion began and a shell struck close to her home, leaving her face and body severely injured. Her mother was working and she was home alone when the attack began. But swift action by State Emergency Services led her to a nearby hospital for critical care.  


Daniela’s recovery journey was tough and lengthy, and their home was now unsafe. Daniela and her mother, Oryna, were forced to seek shelter in the hospital basement. Oryna knew she needed help to care for her daughter, so she reached out to SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine. SOS Ukraine covered Daniela’s medical costs, provided them additional financial assistance and helped them to purchase winter clothes and shoes.  


“We were offered help for treatment and surgery. I couldn’t believe that this was even possible,” Oryna recalls. “Thanks to your [SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine] help, Daniela underwent an operation and now her health has improved significantly, and my daughter studies remotely at school.” 

Providing life-saving care


In September 2022, Oleksandr, accompanied by his children, Ivanna*, 7, and Oleg*, 13, was on a routine trip for drinking water in the Kharkiv region when suddenly a massive rocket attack began. Oleksandr, while attempting to shield his children, was fatally injured from shrapnel and explosives. Ivanna and Oleg survived thanks to their father’s efforts but needed urgent medical care.  


SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine offered a beacon of hope and extended comprehensive support to the orphaned siblings, including covering medical expenses, giving them a chance to heal.  


Oleksandr’s tragic death left Ivanna and Oleg orphaned but their godfather is now providing them a safe and loving home. 


*Names changed to protect privacy. 

Canadians wishing to help vulnerable children are encouraged to sponsor a child, sponsor an SOS Village or make a one-time donation. Your support will change the lives of orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Please help today.